In June, Nicole – part of our Marketing team – experienced our 11-day Top End & Central Australia Explorer with Cosmos.
I hadn’t toured through Australia before this, it was always overseas. However, the Northern Territory was on my never-ending bucket list, and I was always of the mindset of “I’ll do that when I’m older”. I’m incredibly grateful that this was my first trip in a post-COVID world, and that I could get out of my comfort zone all while staying in my own country.
These are my top 5 highlights of the Top End that you can’t miss when heading to this special area.
1. Katherine Gorge
Gorge-ous sums up our spectacular gorge cruise through Nitmiluk National Park. Along the way, cultural guides shared their knowledge of the flora and fauna in the area and some of the dreamtime stories. We cruised through the two gorges with a short walk to break up the journey. We then watched the colours change on the sandstone escarpment as the sun set on another magical day in the Outback. The serenity is out of this world and pictures don’t do this place justice!
2. Edith Falls
Another picturesque stop located in Nitmiluk National Park is Edith (Leliyn) Falls. We had a couple of options here for swimming, both of which are well worth it. We could choose between a leisurely swim in the natural pool at the base of the falls or if you were feeling a little more energetic, a hike along the Leliyn Trail. I chose to hike along the steep, rocky loop to the upper pool for a refreshing dip.
3. Kings Canyon Rim Walk
This was one of the most iconic walks on this Top End trip. We were up bright and early for a sunrise hike of 6 kilometres over 3-4 hours. With about 500 steep steps to the top, it was good to tick off the hardest part at the beginning and I felt on top of the world in no time! There was plenty of time to take in the scenery and see some iconic sites along the way, such as Priscilla’s Crack (made famous by Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) and the stunning Garden of Eden.
4. Standley Chasm
Traditionally known as Angkerle Atwatye, meaning “Gap of Water”, Standley Chasm is not to be missed. Owned and operated by the Western Arrernte people, knowledgeable locals provided insightful talks and a guided tour filled with deep cultural significance. There were also plenty of opportunities for encounters with various species of birds and native flowering plants (some of which you can eat!).
5. Mataranka Thermal Springs
A warm swim at the Mataranka Thermal Springs…what a way to start the day! Located in the Elsey National Park, these natural swimming pools had crystal clear blue waters. This was the perfect way to kick back, relax and soak away any of those aches and pains after all the exploring we had done along the way!
There is nothing quite like exploring your own backyard; in particular, the Australian Outback. With its vast lands and cultural goodness, I will be forever grateful for this incredible experience and cannot recommend this trip highly enough. Click here for the full 11-day Cosmos Top End & Central Explorer itinerary.